Monday, October 12, 2020

Aircraft Propeller Contact With Person: Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, N5522S; accident occurred October 12, 2019 at Key West International Airport (KEYW), Monroe County, Florida

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Key West, FL
Accident Number: GAA20CA025
Date & Time: 10/12/2019, 2105 EDT
Registration: N5522S
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: AC/prop/rotor contact w person
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that he performed a preflight inspection at night and started the airplane, but the airplane would not move forward as he attempted to taxi from parking to the runway. The pilot looked out the left window to see if there were wheel chocks, and his passenger exited the right door and checked the right main landing gear wheel for chocks. The passenger subsequently moved to the front of the airplane and attempted to remove the chocks from the nosewheel. The passenger's right hand was struck by the propeller, which resulted in a serious injury. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's and the passenger's improper decision to have the passenger attempt to move a wheel chock while the propeller was turning, which resulted in a serious injury.


Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Passenger (Cause)

Environmental issues
Person - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight
AC/prop/rotor contact w person (Defining event) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/20/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/22/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 164.7 hours (Total, all aircraft), 152.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 98 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 29.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7.9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N5522S
Model/Series: 172 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 172S11430
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-L2A
Registered Owner: Paragon Flight Training Co
Rated Power:
Operator: Paragon Flight Training Co
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEYW, 21 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 99°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 40°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fort Myers, FL (FMY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Fort Myers, FL (FMY)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1600 EDT
Type of Airspace:Class D  

Airport Information

Airport: Key West Intl (EYW)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 3 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 24.556111, -81.760000 (est)


  1. Interesting. Everyone is at fault except the pilot in command..... the root cause is the PiC’s failure to shut down the engine prior to the passenger leaving the AC. Simple cause.

  2. James, "The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's and the passenger's improper decision to have the passenger attempt to move a wheel chock while the propeller was turning.

  3. The passenger is not the Pilot in Command. Apparently the Pilot in Command believes there was nothing that they could have done to prevent another incident like this occurring. I wonder what else they don't feel responsible for? Fuel planning? Enroute weather knowledge? See and avoid? As long as everyone else is responsible, the pilot doesn't have to be.

  4. Read the docket. Husband yelled at wife to stop / get back in the airplane / don't go forward and pulled the mixture, but wife didn't listen / didn't hear him and got her hand and two toes chopped off.

    Also see

  5. Stop the damn engine before anyone gets out!!

  6. Another chain of events gone wrong but fortunately the hard-headed wife didn't lose half her head (well at least not physically anyway). And that recommendation write up is one of the more pathetically laughable ones I've read on KR ever. Black chocks? So what? Poor ramp lighting? Ever heard of a flash light like real pilots use for night ops? Ground crew help? Did he expect free pre-flight help too in that rental? What a tool! So since this pilot can't accept responsibility for both his failure and his wife's failure, let's get the real report in:


    *Being married to her he should have seen this coming and shut down anticipating she would get impatient and take matters into her own hands.

    And all this at night. Unbelievable stupid actions on both their parts.

  7. How’d she also get her toes chopped off? I could understand a hand but how’d her foot get up into the arc of the prop ?

  8. This is the airplane I got my PPL in. Guy should have started his preflight over once he discovered the issue he missed. Also, NEVER get out of a running aircraft, regardless of whether or not there are others onboard.

  9. She must have thought it was her right to exit the airplane to remove the chocks so that their flight could get underway. From now on, however, she'll have to use her left to accomplish any similar maneuvers. Lesson learned (?) - perhaps they both got off easy given that the airplane was still stationary on the ground when things started to go wrong...

  10. Usually the basic human instinct for self-preservation will keep people from moving towards the front of a running airplane. That big, whirling circle of death is to be respected. But, you've got to give her a hand for trying to help her husband!

  11. Sounds like a 'failed setup' to me. Either that, or this imbecile pilot want-a-be should never be allowed in the air again.